Going on a shopping trip probably won’t be your first priority when the baby arrives. Luckily, with a little preparation, nursing bras can be one thing you don’t have to stress out about right after birth. The key is to understand and anticipate how your breasts will change during and after pregnancy. At my bra store, I’ve fitted dozens of women who were confused about buying nursing bras. Here are my tips to help you save time and be prepared.
I recommend shopping for nursing bras at 30 to 32 weeks. Around this time, your breasts are about the same size they will be after engorgement has ended (more on that later). While you will most likely go back to your pre-pregnancy band size within a few months, your bigger boobs will be around for a while!
The first thing you’ll need is bras to bring with you to the hospital or birth center and to wear immediately post-partum. A few days after birth, you will experience engorgement - the period when your milk “comes in”. During this time your breasts could be a full size larger than they were just days before. Your initial nursing bras should have soft, stretchy cups and no underwire to accommodate sudden changes in your size. Be sure to get at least two and to make sure they are machine-washable. You won’t have time to wash them in baby’s first few days, and will want to have a clean spare. Later on, you can use these bras to sleep in.
Got your basics? Now you can really shop! There has been a growing interest in nursing bras that go beyond beige and white. Sexy nursing bras can make you feel less like a buffet and more like the beautiful woman you are. Need a little extra reason to justify a splurge? Wear your new nursing bras during the last trimester when your current bras just aren’t cutting it. Nursing bras are designed to be both comfortable and supportive enough for heavy breasts.
One type of nursing bra that you don’t want to buy while you’re pregnant is an underwire nursing bra. In my experience, wearing an underwire in the later stages of nursing is fine as long as the bra fits correctly. After all, your wire should always lie under your breasts and never put pressure on your breast tissue, whether you are nursing or not. That said, you don’t want to “guesstimate” your size when buying an underwire nursing bra. Wait until your feeding schedule is regular and your cup size has stopped fluctuating on a day to day basis. A T-shirt style underwire nursing bra is a great investment when you are going back to work and want to look and feel “put-together”.